It’s been a tough year. The global pandemic that we’re all living through has had an incredible impact on our collective psyches. Human beings are social creatures, and the lockdowns and restrictions, masks and illnesses and death have taken a serious toll. Now add into that the winter blahs that many of us experience this time of year AND the fact that Tottenham Hotspur have been kind of a garbage fire for the past month or so and the idea of developing some sort of self-care regimen becomes more and more important.
It’s easy to get swept up in [gestures vaguely at everything] so it’s extremely important to make sure that you’re spending enough time doing things that make you feel good. Now more than ever, you should be taking care of yourself in addition to the others in your life that need a little extra help.
So let’s look at some self-care options in today’s player ratings theme. Most of these are going to be pretty self-explanatory and even obvious. But they work, and you should try them. Put some other suggestions in the comments. Let’s come together as a community and be supportive as we navigate what is hopefully the last phase of this incredibly twisty and dark period of time.
Also, Tottenham won on Sunday! That’s great! Here are your player ratings to the theme of self-care.
5 stars: Exercise
It seems a little weird to say this in February as snow flies in the midwest and northeastern United States and temperatures hover in the single digits, but it really is incredible how much exercise can improve your mood. I’m an on-again-off-again jogger, but even when it’s cold you can take walks, or situps/pushups, ride a stationary bike if you have one, or do yoga. Starting physical activity is HARD if you’re out of practice or are new, but once you get a little momentum it’s remarkable on how much it makes both your body and mind feel better.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were this good, but it sure was nice that a few of them were close.
4.5 stars: Meditate
This may be tough for some of you, especially those who have a hard time sitting still or slowing down. Multitaskers, I’m speaking to you and I get you. But taking some time for your brain to just do NOTHING can be the single best thing you can do for yourself. There are plenty of guided meditation apps (some free — check out Insight Timer) or meditations on YouTube. Or if that doesn’t work for you, just find a quiet place, close your eyes, and just breathe for 5-10 minutes. Let your brain scream at you and be annoying for a while, but ignore it. Let your brain do everything it wants to while you’re doing absolutely nothing. I’ve personally found it incredibly helpful.
Harry Kane (Community — 4.5): Welcome back, Harry. Five shots and a Bobby Smith-tying goal is a pretty good way to return. While it’s scary how important Kane is to Spurs’ ability to generate offense, it sure is fun watching him play. A little rusty with his finishing, but very sharp in all other areas of his game.
4 stars: Pet some animals
There’s a reason why so many of us have pets — taking care of an animal or even just being around one for a while can instill a huge boost in someone’s mood. There’s a reason why pediatric wards bring in nice doggies for their young patients to pet every so often. Go pet your cat, assuming it wants you near it. If you don’t have a pet, consider doing something like volunteering to walk dogs or help out at your local no-kill shelter. It’ll help.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Community — 4.0): Had a lovely pass to assist Kane’s goal and was otherwise back to his indispensable self. West Brom aren’t good, which made Hojbjerg’s performance look even more impressive.
Lucas Moura (Community — 4.0): Much better from Lucas. He had a number of nice progressions with the ball, none better than that mazy run and assist that set up Son’s goal. We really need that out of him in the right wing position.
3.5 stars: Read
I’m a voracious reader — my Goodreads log usually hovers between 45-50 books in a year. The nice thing about reading is that you can do it anywhere — during your commute, at home in a comfy chair, outside in the park. You can also combine it with exercise by buying an audiobook or borrowing one from your local library. Find something that interests you — fiction, non-fiction, whatever — and get lost in a good book for a while. Or a magazine. Or a news article. Just feed your brain on something that requires words on a page (and that isn’t this blog).
Erik Lamela (Community — 4.0): A perfectly Lamela-esque match, controlling the ball well at the 10 and wider, and facilitating some hilarious violence. Got his usual yellow card, too. If he can duplicate this kind of performance in the hole it’ll go a long way in filling the void until either Dele is ready or Lo Celso comes back. Still painfully left-footed though (as indicative by that one shot).
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.5): It’s a joy watching Tanguy play in the pivot and progress the ball towards the attacking midfielders. I think it’s his best position, though I have seen him play better there this season against better teams than West Brom. Get someone like Dele or Lo Celso in front of him and we’re cooking with gas.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 4.0): 3.5 feels a bit low for Sonny, but apart from his goal (which was great!) he was pretty quiet in this match. He sure looked like he missed Harry. Find someone who you connect with the way Son connects with Harry Kane.
Serge Aurier (Community — 3.5): Did well going forward and linked up well with Lamela and Lucas on the right side of midfield. Nice header that forced a save from Johnstone, Pretty good defensively too. His calf injury is a worry.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 4.0): Didn’t have a ton to do but was there when the defense got lost to smother Diagne’s chance from close range. After a couple of poor performances it’s nice to be reminded what a good keeper Hugo is.
Jose Mourinho (Community — 3.5): Let’s give credit where due: Mourinho set up Spurs to push forward and attack against a bad team. Still parked the bus when up two, which is fine, I guess, and it’s hard to say how much was Mou and how much was Harry Kane being back, but it worked. Let’s see what happens against Everton. I’m still dubious.
3 stars: Watch something
Self-care doesn’t have to be special. Sometimes it can be as mundane as putting on Netflix and eating dinner, or firing up that YouTube playlist of cat videos, or endlessly scrolling TikTok. That’s fine. While it’s good to step away from the screen that we’ve been staring at way too much over the past year, there’s nothing wrong with collapsing on the couch and zoning out at the screen for a while, if it makes you feel good.
Toby Alderweireld (Community — 3.5): West Brom are bad, but Toby was fine. I have concerns about his fitness and efficacy in the medium to long term, but he put in a solid enough shift in the back line on Sunday. Nearly scored on a rebound effort too.
Ben Davies (Community — 3.5): IDK. He was fine?
Matt Doherty (Community — 3.0): I literally cannot remember a thing he did in this match, positive or negative. Three stars seems appropriate?
2.5 stars: Obsessively check this blog
I love all of you. It’s my job to be here, and all of you blessed people help with my site metrics and justify my continued existence as your benevolent dictator. But dear God, we all need to log the hell off more, especially when things aren’t going well in North London. Either that or be way, WAY more tolerant of each other while we’re cranky after a bad loss.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 3.0): This feels harsh. Is this harsh? Credit to him for shoving two West Brom attackers and ensuing that both of Diagne’s goals were flagged as offside, and he did okay in straight-up defending. But my dude still gets lost when the ball’s in the air, and he was nowhere to be found on the play that Hugo saved.
2 stars: Obsessively check social media
We are all trying to connect a little more with people now that we can’t go out and actually, you know, connect with people. Social media is a terrible way to fill that gap. Look, I get this — I’m a Twitter doom-scroller and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. But the first step to changing behavior is to recognize that it’s a problem. Social media is a problem. It reinforces negative behaviors, is insanely addictive, and there’s a decent chance that by using it you may encounter Nazis. I’m a hypocrite for saying it, but none of us should be using it.
1 star: Ignore everything
Take all of your negative feelings, your despair about the world, the loneliness, the anger, the hopelessness, roll it all up into a tiny ball and shove it deep into a corner of your mind where you don’t have to think about it or interact with it. It’s fine. It’s all fine. Everything’s fine.*
* — It’s not fine. Don’t do this.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as actively practicing self-neglect.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Dane Scarlett (but isn’t it great that he got his debut?)